Roleo & E.D.S.

by Jason Hoffman

Roleo & E.D.S. have only been making music together for about three years, but their output has been tremendous. Their latest release is Labrats, a concise collection of 11 tracks that are sure to hit the sweet spot of hip-hop aficionados.

As in past albums, Roleo handles the rhymes while E.D.S. does the beats. The first track, “Intro,” is a lengthy sample from the ending of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon but with some nice augmentations to create an ominous, yet encouraging album kick off. The only other instrumental track is the excellent “Ghost Channel” which takes staticy, otherworldly samples and layers on rolling piano arpeggios to create a stilted track that is all too brief.

A number of tracks exist that take issue with the local and national hip-hop music scenes, the tepid tastes of fans and bland radio playlists. “Testing, Testing,” with a solid beat, melodic guitars and lyrics fingering the manufactured music of today, could start a musical revolution if heard by the right people. A similar message is presented in a single brash take known as “Yeah I Said It,” while “In 2005” the boys celebrate their comeuppance that is due in the current year with respect and fame matched by a heavy beat.

The mid-tempo “Rap Music” builds on a subdued, moody, jazzy bass beat, melting perfectly into the eerie synth tone of “Butterstick,” a song whose wildly vibrating beats will surely stick in your head. Rhymewise37 guests on “Mad Chillin.” an aggressive beat with an excellent Fat Albert rubbery bass line. Both “You Heard Right” and “Feel It” make heavy use of samples. “You Heard Right” uses the introductory bars of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, lending a regal feel, and “Feel It” uses, possibly, a Zeppelin song to lay against a serious groove and some tasty marimba playing.

With no signs of slowing down, Labrats surely isn’t the last we’ll hear from Roleo and E.D.S. For fans of intelligent hip hop this is definitely a good thing. Available at Convolution Records and at cdbaby.com.

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